One of the things I didn’t fully grasp when started my research on language learning through reading was that books are living things. They are born, they live out there in the world, and by use and wear and tear, they die. It is really like the Game of Life. A book needs people to buy it to have a chance of surviving to have a second printing, and bookstores need it to be popular to justify the shelf space in their store. The price of a new and on the shelf book of a second language book generally makes your pocketbook say ‘gulp’. Not everyone loves Amazon, and I do love my local bookstore, but I’m a super-fan. I am also a fan of Hollywood, as many classic and popular books get made into movies, generating demand for the books once again. Those books get reprinted and translated into other languages, and they gain new life, if for a short time. The increased demand coupled with availability makes the price much easier to swallow. amazon.com and even amazon.ca has a greater selection of second language books that are simply not practical to keep on the shelf at your local bookstore. Even better, there is a growing body of e-books in a second language which don’t need shelf space on a bookshelf, so gain a longer lifespan.
I set out to compare classic and fun children’s books at about the grade 5 reading level from English to Spanish, and English to French. Until I am independently wealthy or prove to my customers that this endeavor is not just wild tilting of windmills, I gather and study books what I can from libraries, amazon, and online used book stores. My stubbornness is paying off, but many books, sadly, disappear after their one print in that second language. My intent is to help get language learners to that reading level so it’s worth it to buy those books, and not simply give up after the first two overwelming pages.
The gathering and study of hundreds of books is paying off. Gathering and processing what can be learned from those books has been rather like eating a very large elephant, bite by bite. It is the iceberg you don’t need to be afraid to hit. Now that I have considered the full body of the iceberg, I can navigate around it much better. Truth is, you need a foundation of vocabulary in a second language before you attempt to read books and enjoy them. I have a prioritized vocabulary list and level one of my RPG game is officially underway. In the coming weeks there will be vocabulary bundles made available for purchase for navigating some great books that are widely available, that will give you just in time vocabulary by chapter. Funds raised will go towards the development of the code and art of the game, which in my opinion, is the best way to learn second language vocabulary, through play!
The Game of Life
(aka the Survival Game)
“This is a survival game. Therefore, the only way to “win” is to still be alive at the end of the game. Each type of animal (herbivore, omnivore and carnivore) has different needs which must be met in order to survive. Send the Herbivores out into the play area first, and give them at least a 10-minute head start on the others. The herbivores must find all the food and water stations in order to survive. Next, send out the omnivores. They must find all the water stations and at least two food stations. They must also catch at least four herbivores in order to survive. Herbivores are caught by being tagged, at which point the omnivore (or carnivore) takes one card from their life-ring. Carnivores are sent out next. They must find all the water stations and must catch at least ten other animals (can be either herbivores or omnivores)… You can also have one player circulate as Rabies or Disease. If you want to make the game really complicated… as part of the survival game the players must find the mate of their species and trade some sort of “reproduction card”. ” (rules quoted from dragon.sleepdeprived.ca)